How to Wash Pillows: Clean and Fresh Bedding

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By Steven Hal

Washing pillows is an essential part of maintaining a clean and hygienic sleeping environment. Over time, pillows can accumulate sweat, oils, dust mites, and other allergens, which can affect sleep quality and overall comfort. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of washing pillows to keep them clean, fresh, and comfortable for a restful night’s sleep.

How to Wash Pillows

Why Wash Pillows?

Regular washing of pillows is important for several reasons:

  1. Hygiene: Pillows can harbor sweat, body oils, dead skin cells, and dust mites, which can contribute to odors and potential health issues.
  2. Allergen Reduction: Washing pillows helps to remove allergens such as dust mites and pet dander, which can trigger allergies and respiratory problems.
  3. Prolonging Lifespan: Proper care and maintenance can help extend the lifespan of pillows, ensuring that they provide optimal support and comfort for longer.

Types of Pillows

Before washing your pillows, it’s important to identify the type of pillows you have, as different materials may require different care methods:

  1. Down and Feather Pillows: These pillows are filled with natural feathers or down clusters and require special care to maintain their loft and softness.
  2. Synthetic Pillows: Synthetic pillows are filled with polyester fibers or other synthetic materials and are typically machine washable for easy care.
  3. Memory Foam Pillows: Memory foam pillows should not be machine washed, as the moisture can damage the foam. Instead, spot clean or use alternative cleaning methods.

Materials Needed for Washing Pillows

Gather the following materials before you begin washing your pillows:

  • Mild Detergent: Choose a gentle detergent that is suitable for washing delicate fabrics and is free from harsh chemicals or fragrances.
  • Baking Soda (Optional): Baking soda helps to remove odors and freshen pillows during the washing process.
  • White Vinegar (Optional): White vinegar acts as a natural disinfectant and can help remove stubborn stains and odors.
  • Washing Machine: Use a large-capacity washing machine with a gentle cycle for washing pillows.
  • Dryer or Drying Rack: You can either tumble dry pillows in a dryer on a low heat setting or air dry them outdoors on a drying rack.

Step-by-Step Washing Process

Follow these steps to wash your pillows effectively:

Step 1: Read the Care Label

Before washing, check the care label on your pillows for specific instructions and recommendations from the manufacturer. This will help you determine the appropriate washing method and avoid damaging the pillows.

Step 2: Pre-Treat Stains (If Necessary)

If your pillows have stains or discolorations, spot treat them with a mixture of water and mild detergent or white vinegar. Gently scrub the affected areas with a soft brush or cloth, then rinse with clean water.

Step 3: Prepare the Washing Machine

Place the pillows in the washing machine, ensuring that they are evenly distributed to prevent imbalance during the wash cycle. Add a small amount of mild detergent to the machine, along with a cup of baking soda for extra freshness if desired.

Step 4: Wash the Pillows

Select a gentle cycle on the washing machine and set the water temperature to warm or cold, depending on the care label instructions. Allow the machine to complete the wash cycle, ensuring that the pillows are thoroughly cleaned.

Step 5: Rinse and Spin

After the wash cycle is complete, remove the pillows from the washing machine and rinse them thoroughly under cold water to remove any soap residue. Gently squeeze out excess water, then place the pillows back in the machine for a spin cycle to remove excess moisture.

Step 6: Dry the Pillows

You can choose to air dry the pillows outdoors on a drying rack or tumble dry them in a dryer on a low heat setting. If using a dryer, add a few clean tennis balls or dryer balls to help fluff up the pillows and prevent clumping.

Tips for Washing Pillows

  • Regular Washing: Aim to wash your pillows every 3 to 6 months to maintain cleanliness and freshness.
  • Fluffing: Fluff your pillows regularly to redistribute the filling and maintain their shape and loft.
  • Sunlight: Whenever possible, expose your pillows to sunlight, as UV rays have natural disinfectant properties and can help eliminate odors and bacteria.
  • Pillow Protectors: Consider using pillow protectors or pillowcases to extend the lifespan of your pillows and prevent them from becoming soiled.


Washing pillows is an important part of maintaining a clean and healthy sleeping environment. By following the step-by-step washing process outlined in this guide and adhering to the tips provided, you can keep your pillows clean, fresh, and comfortable for a restful night’s sleep. With proper care and maintenance, your pillows will continue to provide optimal support and comfort for years to come.

Also read: How to Wash Hey Dude Shoes: A Complete Guide

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